(PAGASA 24-HOUR PUBLIC WEATHER FORECAST as of Friday, 08 December 2023) Easterlies affecting the eastern section of the country. Northeast Monsoon affecting Extreme Northern Luzon. Butuan City, Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Dinagat Islands, Surigao del Norte and Surigao del Sur will experience cloudy skies with scattered rainshowers and thunderstorms due to Easterlies. Possible flash floods or landslides due to moderate to at times heavy rains. Light to Moderate winds coming from East to Northeast will prevail with slight to moderate seas (0.6 to 2.1 meters).

Friday, April 6, 2018

401st army brigade chief gets wind of peace talks resumption

By Greg Tataro, Jr.

TANDAG CITY, Surigao del Sur, April 6 (PIA) - The commander of the 401st Infantry (Unity) Brigade of the Philippine Army (PA) based in Prosperidad, Agusan del Sur admitted to have come to know about the plan of President Rodrigo Duterte to resume peace talks with the CPP-NPA-NDF.

However, Col. Andres Centino said they had yet to receive official word from higher headquarters of any development.

“We have yet to receive the formal directives coming from our higher headquarters,” he stressed when reached for comment, explaining the need for further “instructions to field units in Caraga” once the effort would push through.

The army official, whose area of operation covers the southern part of Surigao del Sur on top of Agusan del Sur, added that his command would be looking forward to a “definite guidance” once everything could be firmed up.

Centino said he would not want to “pre-empt” any steps in this regard but based on past experience in the early phase on the matter under the Duterte administration, there had been declaration of ceasefire until it reached a “breakdown on February 4, 2017” due to gross violations on the side of the armed wing.

Meanwhile, Centino assured that while awaiting progress “security operations had to keep going.”

Also, the brigade chief was glad to report of the gains of Community Support Program (CSP), citing the recent series of surrenders and triumphs that had caused major setbacks on the enemy side. (Radyo Pilipinas-Tandag/PIA-Surigao del Sur)

Feature: From withered past to bountiful future: a Gulayan sa Barangay story

By Joana Rica Millam

It was an ordinary day for Jonnie. The gleaming glow of the sun infused his sun-kissed skin as he gets ready for battle – harvest time.

It was not always a smooth-sailing ride for the members of the Pinagalaan Vegetable Growers Association (PINAVEGRA). Cultivating a 1.5-hectare privately-owned land, situated in Barangay Pinagalaan, Bayugan City was a challenging duty for them.

Withered past

Established four years ago (2014), the association started with 30 committed members aiming to become one of the vegetable producers in the “cut-flower capital of the Agusan del Sur” – Bayugan City. But the odds were not in their favor for they failed in their previous parcel, which discouraged other members.

“Sukad ato, nawad-an og gana ang uban miyembro. Gikan sa 30, nahimo nalang mi og pito. Grabe to nga pagsulay (Since then, other members lost their interest. From 30, we decreased to seven. It was a great trial),” Jonnie Guyo, PINAVEGRA president, got slightly emotional as he reminisced their withered past.

New niche to nourish

Though it seem too hard to recover from their failure, the seven members remained steadfast. Their perseverance paid off with a new beginning – a new niche to nourish.

Joahna Legada, the association’s secretary, agreed that after every rain, there is always a rainbow. “Bisan ug napakyas mi, wala nawala ang among paglaum para sa grupo. Sa among pagpaningkamot, nahatagan kami ug ganti (Despite our failure, our hopes still remained for our group. Because of our hard work, we were given a reward,” she proudly shared.

Compassionate linkages

Their dedication opened doors of opportunities on skills development. When a non-government organization known as Winrock International launched the Philippine Cold Chain (PCC) Project, they were invited to learn about organic farming, with all expenses paid. Through the East-West Seed corporation, they underwent field schooling once a week for six months. Their knowledge on farming escalated – performing various demonstrations, improving quality yields, and managing finances.

Compassionate government agencies also provided vast avenues for the association. “Mapasalamaton mi sa mga ahensya sa gobyerno nga naghatag namo og oportunidad. Usa na ang Department of Agriculture nga gipaadto mi sa Bukidnon ug Iligan aron makakat-on sa saktong pamaagi sa pagpananum (We are grateful to the government agencies for the opportunities. The Department of Agriculture sent us to Bukidnon and Iligan for us to learn the right way of cultivating),” Jonnie smiled with a grateful heart.

Aside from technical trainings and seminars, they were also educated on bio-intensive gardening through the Family Development Session (FDS) of the Department of Social Welfare and Development, as the association is composed of partner-beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program.

Bountiful future

Through the initiative of the Program, they (partner-beneficiaries) created a “Gulayan sa Barangay” or communal garden to promote nutrient sufficiency, food security/stability, and a sense of community.

Their communal garden now yields bountiful harvest with various organic vegetables on sight – bell peppers, eggplants, tomatoes, scallions, and lettuces. They are now considered as one of the vegetable producers in Bayugan City with production market in the neighboring towns or cities such as Butuan and Surigao. On their first cropping, their income amounted to Php38,000 which made them more fervent to perform their duties as vegetable growers. This served as a venue that encouraged an additional 10 members in their association

It was a real tough but rewarding four years for the PINAVEGRA partner-beneficiaries. They were splashed with huge waves of disappointments and hit rock-bottom, but they stood still and set high hopes for their association.

As Jonnie looks back while watching the twilight fill the sky and their baskets full, he is now ready to lead his team and face whatever battle the odds may give, as he awaits for the bountiful future. (DSWD-Caraga/PIA-Caraga)